Soft music is playing in the background. It is like pipe music, only more gay. You lay on the ground. You are awkward about the fact that you can’t remember the last time you felt more comfortable. An impressive but slightly jarring voice commands you to feel various parts of your body. As you try to let go of your inhibitions, you are faintly aware of the communal scheme of things around you.
Just as you are drifting into suspension, a gathering vibration pulls you back into gravity. It is probably a random message selling you packaged tours on your cell phone. You look at the clock, the official photographer and relatively limp bodies of recent acquaintances that are littered around you.
This could only mean one thing: an HR-sponsored time-eater!
Names can range from the Mythological (Rejuvenation) to the pedestrian (Training Programme.) Claims can be even loftier.
I hate ‘motivational talk’ and formal turn-by-turn introductions as much as you do. But there are up-sides to look forward to:
>> You are away from your desk and you are being paid for it.
>> Slightly better caffeinated drinks than office.
>> The food looks more expensive than canteen food and will taste different, if not better.
>> Some of the activities might actually be fun, eg; paintball. You can finally aim for that bald spot on your boss’s head (all for building team spirit off cousre).
>> Not falling asleep in this set-up would be a new challenge and can enhance your skills.
>> Meeting a cross-section of the organization’s talent sloppily out of their element may make you feel good about yourself.
Sure there are is an organized sanctimony about the whole event. As grown men sing songs, hold hands and struggle with craft items, you feel like you are in an orgy with Robin Sharma, Shiv Khera and Oprah! The natural response off course is revulsion. The positive energy being exuded by the ‘trainer’ makes you feel so warm inside that you want to puke!
But you will only make it harder for yourself if you go with your natural response. Do the opposite. In most cases, the opposite is what the organization wants. So just give in to the packaged motivation.
To the Trainer: “Mr. Sequeira, sorry, Bob…I think we should also share the meaning of the poems we have written.”
In the feedback form: “I have learnt so much. I can’t wait to get back to work to implement all this. I propose HR follow up every week to document the positive changes this session will bring about.”
To participative co-workers: “I agree.” and “Could you elaborate more?” every two minutes.
To all participants: “Can we hold hands for a little longer?”
“Let’s do that again!”
Being politically correct can be fun when the audience knows you don’t mean it. This way, whatever memories you have of another day earning your bread will be almost pleasant.